We have picked what we consider the most loveable luxury ski chalets. They’re not cheap but they’re certainly gorgeous. On the whole, the best are centred around five resorts or ski areas: the Trois Vallees, Val d’Isere, the Portes du Soleil, Verbier and Zermatt – although there are now a growing number of other fabulous properties in more offbeat or unexpected resorts.
At the top end of the luxury ski chalet market are some veritable piste palaces, offering all the opulence of a five-star hotel combined with the intimacy of a stylish private home.
A little further down the price scale you’ll still get a comfortable home-from-home but without those added extras like swimming-pools, cinemas and private chauffeurs. However, all of these ski chalets take their food very seriously indeed. Prices are per week half board, unless stated otherwise.
Rustic Designs in the Trois Vallees
In good-value Courchevel 1650 is Scattolas Lodge, which houses five smart yet rustic-looking chalets with a shared Jetstream pool. Chalet Montana is right beside the Bellecote piste, which is unusual for Courchevel 1850 where by no means everything is ski-in ski-out. It has the sort of rough-hewn wooden interior that makes it very appealing indeed. Sleeps up to 12.
In Meribel there is Chalet Chopine, in the Dou du Pont enclave, a two-minute drive from the slopes. Inside it is filled with naturally hued fabrics, rough wooden beams and panelled walls, along with contemporary bathrooms. The open-plan living and dining area has comfy sofas and an open fire. Downstairs is a home cinema and there’s also a spa area with a sauna, steam room and a large hot tub – while you are wallowing in them you can listen to music from the state-of-the-art sound system, controlled by a floating waterproof remote. Sleeps 10.
In Meribel Village there’s rustic Chalet du Guide, a stand-alone, five-bedroom chalet close to the piste and two-minutes’ walk to the centre. The property is full of character with traditional dark wood panelling and beams. There’s a hot tub on the terrace and the master bedroom has wonderful valley views, and there’s also a family room sleeping up to four. The living area is spacious with squashy sofas, a huge open fire and doors that open onto the balcony. Sleeps 10.
Abode is an upmarket chalet in the hamlet of Villarabout, on the outskirts of St Martin de Belleville. It is an old Savoyard farmhouse built in the late 1800s that’s been lovingly restored with designer touches, with stunning views from the living room. from £529pp half board, not including travel. Sleeps 8-10.
In the same village is La Ferme de Belleville is a 400-year-old farmhouse with an authentic interior that has undergone careful renovation. Original timber beams and rustic stone walls combine with comfy sofas, wolf fur throws and cow hide rugs. Highlight is the open-plan living/dining area, which spreads out beneath a vaulted stone ceiling. Sleeps 12-13.
High-Altitude Eyries in Val d’Isere and Tignes
Eagles’s Nest sits in prime position in an exclusive little enclave above the resort and two minutes from La Face piste. On entering the building the first impression is of a wide open space with ancient oak beams, bleached wooden floorboards, and a Ralph-Lauren-meets-James-Bond style. The master bedroom has unrestricted and un-overlooked views and an en-suite bathroom with a huge ceramic corner bath presided over by a half-life-size 16th-century Renaissance Madonna, which came from an Italian church. There’s also a small indoor swimming-pool. Sleeps 12.
Chalet Montana is as chic as can be and is in one of the prime positions in town at Les Carats. Arranged over four floors on the side of the slope, every room and terrace shares the same wonderful view, including the indoor pool, where you can swim against a jetstream. The piste is just a short hop away. There’s a lift to all floors, with private access to the master suite. Upstairs the split-level living area is decorated in muted hues, with handmade furniture and local stone throughout, and there’s also a TV room and study. The price includes children’s lunch and supper, an open bar, and an in-resort chauffeur service. Sleeps 12 + 3 children.
Lower down in the resort centre is Chalet Lhotse, which has one of the best en-suite bathrooms we’ve ever seen with a large stone bathtub. It is a bit like bathing in a very warm and comfortable pond. The vast living area has a cinema screen, grand piano, gorgeous furry rugs and comfortable seating. The food is excellent and there’s a swimming-pool, too. Sleeps 12 + 2 children.
Chalet Cloche is a lovely wood and stone building in Tignes with four large bedrooms all beautifully decorated in pale wood and an oriental black, cream and lacquer-red colour scheme. The log-cabin-style sitting room is decorated in warm colours with wooden beams, panelled walls, a stripped wooden floor, and an open fireplace. For the ultimate in relaxation there’s an in-house spa complete with steam room, hot tub and a small indoor swimming-pool. Sleeps 12.
For a Little Less in Val d’Isere
La Couchire is 50m from the Fornet cable-car, with the nearest piste 100m away. It’s suited to a large group of friends with its eight woody bedrooms, some of them set romantically into the eaves, and spacious sitting room with two stone fireplaces to add warmth and ambience. Sleeps 16.
The 200-year-old Farmhouse (pictured above) is set next to the church and 250m from the piste in the centre of Val d’Isere. Absolutely no expense has been spared in retaining the metre-thick walls and the original timber beams formed from complete oak trees. Contemporary features and yet more mellow wood have been added. The property has five bedrooms and a separate basement studio apartment for children and even a nanny – if parents want privacy. Sleeps 12-14.
Creature Comforts in Sainte Foy
The South Face is set alongside its sister chalet, The North Face in the village of Sainte Foy. Four-storey South Face is still fairly new and is available on a room-by-room basis, or with exclusive occupancy. There are uninterrupted views across the valley to Mont Pourri, which are best appreciated from the comfort of the balcony hot tub. Sleeps 10.
Yellowstone (pictured above) is a lavish wood and stone building that calls itself a boutique hotel but, although you can book the rooms separately, we are classing it as a chalet because it only has six bedrooms. The interior is decorated with tan and lime leather (a surprisingly successful mix), faux fur throws, and safari wildlife paintings. All of this contrasts with old wooden beams and local slate, and there’s an outdoor hot tub too. Sleeps 12.
Romantic Escapes in the Portes du Soleil
Chalet Marie would be a great place to stay anywhere, but the fact that it’s on the slopes in Avoriaz – which is not renowned for having luxury ski chalets – makes it unusual. The property is modern and spacious inside, and charmingly decorated with Savoyard antiques. The heart of the chalet is its large open-plan living/dining area with high, beamed ceilings, a fireplace, and picture windows. Sleeps 14.
The magical 17th-century Ferme de Moudon is hidden away just past the small local chapel, a three-minute drive from Les Gets village centre. Inside the old cow barn, ancient timbers and terracotta floors blend with modern interiors. It’s decorated with a lovely mixture of textures provided by cowskin chairs and table-covers, lamb-y floor rugs, and bespoke furniture including tweed sofas. The master bedroom may not be as big as some, but it has its own small office under the eaves, just outside the door. Sleeps 10.
Maison Blanche et Verte is the first five-star chalet in family-friendly Chatel. It sits above the centre of the village, next to the Barbassone lift. There’s an open-plan living room and a separate mezzanine playroom. A home cinema comes complete with popcorn holders in the seats, and there’s also an indoor pool and gym. Sleeps 12.
Other Luxury Ski Chalets in France
Villa Terrier is a grand old Chamonix house built in 1910, and still exudes an atmosphere of elegant opulence. There are four bedrooms, and the bathrooms are enormous – some would pass as a family room for four in other resorts. From 6,650€ for the whole chalet, including airport transfers. Sleeps 8-10.
The overriding reason to choose Chalet Saskia in Vaujany is not for its luxury but for the food – chef Marcus Cull’s cooking is pure heaven. It divides into two units that are mirror images of each other. These are linked by a glass-fronted kitchen, where you can watch the chef at work. Sleeps 10 in each half.
Party Places in Verbier
Nyumba (pictured above) is perched high above the village, with some of the best views of any chalet in the resort. This beautiful 500-sq-metre chalet has a magnificent spa, which has been finished in Italian marble. The main living room has a dramatic double-height ceiling and is furnished with worn leather sofas and distressed wooden furniture. There’s a cinema room and a large playroom. Sleeps 12 plus bunk room for 4 children.
The Lodge is a lavish log chalet built for Sir Richard Branson, with lots of reclaimed timber, neutral natural fabrics, and oodles of space. Sir Richard’s master bedroom has a central fireplace and a magnificent open-plan bathroom, complete with rubber ducks. An enormous basement party room has a daybed big enough for ten. The main lift is a two-minute chauffeured drive away and you can ski back to the door. If you don’t fancy skiing then you can skate on the private ice rink, or swim in the pool. Sleeps 18.
Chalet Verbiage is a classic Swiss chalet, combining style with serious comfort. The use of limed wood, stone, marble and granite, together with fine fabrics create a fabulous ski chalet. It’s tucked away behind the high street yet close to the ski bus stop and within easy walking distance to all the nightlife. The romantic part is the incredible, uninterrupted view of the beautiful valley. Sleeps 8.
Rooms with Views in Zermatt
Mountain Exposure’s flagship five-star, The Zermatt Lodge (pictured above) is conveniently set close to the main street and the Sunnegga Express lift station. It takes up the whole top floor of a new chalet with gorgeous views of the Matterhorn over the rooftops.
Four of the five double bedrooms can be conveniently converted into twins. Every detail has been meticulously finished, with beamed ceilings, aged wooden floors and stylish yet cosy furniture giving a warm feeling of old-world charm with a crisp modern finish. The focal point of the spacious living room is a suspended wood-burning fireplace and there’s an adjoining dining room with a long table seating 12. Sleeps 10.
Haus Gmatchi is a sweet conversion of one of Zermatt‘s 18th-century blackened barns, tucked away down a quiet side street. During its life the building has been a meat-smoking house, a hayloft, and an artist’s studio. Stone floors, wooden beams and magnificent oak-panelling contrast with sleek modern decoration, including a glass staircase lit from below. It has three bedrooms. Sleeps 6.
From Heidi Style to Cutting-Edge in Davos and Klosters
Tivoli Lodge is a ski-in ski-out location on the Parsenn slopes above Davos. Its traditional exterior belies the contemporary interior, and there are sensational views from the south-facing windows towards the highest peaks of the Engadine. The spacious chalet has a vast living room and dining room, a home cinema, library, study, and a spa complex. The indoor swimming-pool comes complete with jet stream and a waterfall tumbling into the shallows. There’s a delightful children’s bunk room, and a two-storey jungle gym will keep children happy for hours on end while parents relax. Sleeps 12 + 6 children.
Chalet Bear is one of the few remaining log chalets in Klosters, which means that the overwhelming look is ancient wood inside and out. You won’t find cutting-edge interiors here but it’s everything you’ve ever dreamt an Alpine chalet should be: gorgeous views and a woody sitting room. There’s an English-country-house-meets-Alpine-Swiss style when it comes to the furniture, fabrics and paintings…and there’s a heart-warming log fire in the sitting room and another in the master bedroom. It’s incredibly convenient for the village centre too. Sleeps 8.
The Additional Delights of Switzerland
Chalet Seven is in Crans Montana, not a resort usually associated with rental chalets. It is 300m from the piste and has four apartments each with dining room, living room, and three large bedrooms. There is also a children’s bunkroom for six, a vast terrace with an outdoor hot tub and fire pit. The exterior is ancient wood, while the inside is decorated with sumptuous Japanese furnishings and fabrics. The spa has a vaulted ceiling, and there’s an eight-metre, steel-tiled indoor pool. Sleeps 18.
Chalet Jessica is a breath of contemporary air in Saas Fee, a resort that usually majors on alpine tradition complete with fretwork and fondue. It’s also a novelty to find a chalet available for rent in a resort where nearly all accommodation is in hotels. Supremely comfortable, it has fabulous views and you are treated to one of the finest glacial panoramas in the Alps. Inside, it is woody and drenched in light, with lots of floor-to-ceiling windows and a cutting-edge sense of style. It has four bedrooms and comes with all those must-haves like flat-screen TVs and iPod docking stations in every room. But the highlight is the wine cellar, which houses a stupendous 40,000 bottles. Sleeps 8.
Swiss Chalets in Smaller Resorts
Chalet Charr is a timber and granite chalet built into the steeply sloping hillside of the little resort of St Luc in the pretty Val d’Anniviers. Seen from above it blends perfectly into its surroundings, while from below dramatic glass and stainless steel balconies highlight the cutting-edge design. Charr is filled with family antiques, Persian rugs, and furs, the walls hung with art and photographs. The family personally look after every aspect of your stay, including cooking, chauffeuring and managing all domestic work. Sleeps 8.
Hidden Dragon’s location was selected precisely because it’s not in a glittering resort like neighbouring Verbier – the farming village of Veysonnaz offers all of Verbier’s skiing without the razzmatazz. This it is not your conventional Swiss chalet as there’s a hint of Asia and a celebration of organic materials such as wood, stone, metal, bamboo, animal hide, eel skin, shell, and rope. The four-storey property has a cinema, an Asian spa, and two master bedrooms. Sleeps 12.
Designer Luxury Ski Chalets in Austria
Now for something quite outrageous, both in style and cost. Chalet N is set up at 1660m at Oberlech above Lech. It has 11 suites (one specifically for children), a sitting room with bar, dining room, fondue room, wine tasting cellar, cinema, and a gigantic spa and ice bar.
The suites mix traditional materials with state-of-the-art technology and the wine cellar contains an impressive 350 wine labels and 900 different varieties of cigar. The spa takes up an entire floor of the building and is one of the largest in any private chalet; its swimming-pool has an underwater sound system and fluctuating colour scheme and a Swarovski shower has crystals forming the curtain. The chalet has a staff of 35. No, that’s not a misprint. Sleeps 20 + 4.
Far from being your usual Heidi chalet, Artemis (pictured above), designed by local St Anton architect Karl Fahner, is a funky hexagonal box on four floors. On arrival in the entrance hall you are greeted by a seven-foot statue of the Ancient Greek goddess of both hills and virginity.
The razor-edge design is far removed from The Sound of Music image of what to expect of a chalet. Inside, the quirky theme continues with oddly-shaped rooms. The six very individual bedrooms all have gorgeous views, and there’s a wellness area and a home cinema with retro velvet seats. Sleeps 12.
Chalet Panorama (pictured above) is in Maria Alm in the Hochkonig area. We don’t know of many luxury charts in Austria, so this is something of a find. The chalet is 400m from the lifts and another 100m or so to the resort centre. Leading from the imposing entrance hall is the aptly named Great Room with picture windows which overlook the slopes and opening onto a terrace. There is a formal dining area and an adjacent comfortable seating area with an open fire. Breakfast is served in a traditional style Stuberl with locally crafted woodwork. There’s also an impressive Wellness Suite.
The Chalet at 11 Degrees East is unique in Obergurgl, the little Austrian resort to which many Brits return again and again. The beautifully-designed chalet has bags of airy space. It’s in a peaceful spot a short walk from the lifts (you can ski back to the door) and right next to the kids’ ski school area. None of your chocolate box here: clean lines, much use of slate, solid pine, and cowhide wall-coverings. The bedrooms, reached by a spiral staircase, are spacious. Sleeps 10.
A Sumptuous Residence in North America
Chalet Bighorn (pictured above) is in the little-known resort of Revelstoke in BC, Canada. It has eight huge bedrooms, and the chef and lodge manager are ex-Descent International who live in Revelstoke year round. The property is the ultimate in skiing luxury, with its own helipad. Sleeps 16.
Last but not Least
Those accustomed to thinking that Bulgaria will forever remain in skiing’s bargain basement may have to think again. It is possible to ski Pamporovo and stay in nearby Villa Gella. The villa has six gorgeous double bedrooms – each one individually decorated, with en suite bathrooms and fireplaces – a library, indoor swimming-pool, and even an ice-skating rink. It is 12km from the access lifts to Pamporovo and the villa provides transport. Sleeps 12.
If you’re not still sure where to stay this winter, see also our features on What Kind of Ski Accommodation is Right for Us?, Ten Reasons to Rent a Ski Apartment, The Best Luxury Ski Hotels in the Alps, Luxury Ski Apartments, Family Chalets, 8 Great Reasons to Rent a Chalet for the Season, Ten Green Ski Hotels.